Even though it’s not required, you made your child promise to stay off of I-70 unless you were in the car. Your teenager rolled his eyes, but agreed, happy that he had his Intermediate Driver’s license and could at least take the car out without you riding as a passenger. But this is the problem with most graduated licenses—you will likely not know if your teenager is following the rules until he is involved in an accident.
Despite License Rules, Teenagers Still Likely to Suffer TBIs in Car Crashes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes are the biggest cause of brain injury-related deaths for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. Of the thousands of teenage drivers and passengers who suffered serious crash injuries, over 30 percent suffered acute head injuries, including skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and concussions.
Since these injuries often result in life-long disability, prevention is the best way to combat teen TBIs. Studies have shown that states with the strictest graduated driver licensing laws show reduced numbers of both brain injuries and fatalities among younger drivers. While Missouri’s driver licensing laws have more requirements than many other states’, it is impossible to tell if your child is adhering to them when he is alone—unless the behavior is evident in a crash.
Here are a few regulations of an intermediate driver license that teenagers often break:
- Seat belt use. Although many teenagers recognize the importance of wearing a seat belt, many still do not wear one for every journey—especially if their friends do not put them on.
- Extra passengers. New drivers are not allowed to carry any passengers who are under 19-years-old (unless they are family members), yet many frequently allow their friends to ride in their cars.
- Nighttime violations. Intermediate drivers are forbidden to drive alone between 1:00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m. except in emergencies, but many drive themselves home after a night of partying.
While there are no regulations that prevent new drivers from using cell phones, many teenagers text or talk behind the wheel, putting them at further risk of an accident.
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